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It was an eerie fog if ever there was one.
If fog could envelop every pore of every creature, even then it could not be as dense and adhering as it was that night.
Far outside the grand city of Veleden cowered a village of silence. Whereas you or I might expect sugarplums and mirth in the early days of winter, the village of Dekwood embraced grays and blacks as evening fell, and its people secured their windows against the creeping fog.
Children buried themselves beneath well-worn quilts, but they didn’t clamp their eyes shut. No, they slapped tiny hands over their ears to ward off the jingle-jangle of horses’ reins as the Ringers approached.
A guardsman leaned across the jingle-jangle bridle of his perfectly normal-looking horse as it crossed the threshold into town. Snowflakes sprinkled across his red suit and blended in with his white sash. The four men in his brigade, if they could be called men, pulled up alongside him.
Five muzzles puffed frost into the air.
Five men, skin haggard as it draped skeletal frames, sat astride the white beasts.
Five days they would ride and rid Dekwood of those unneeded, those too bold for purpose.
A lone child coughed as he huddled against a tree. Tears mingled with snot as he muffled his cries with a ragged scarf. The bells jangled, the eerie sound carrying through the eve like a death keen. The child froze like the snow beneath him, and five faces grinned.
From “The Ringers,” in Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.
|What I Write||
Science fiction & fantasy. Often dark. Often snarky.
Amaskan’s Blood (Book I in the Boahim Series)
* Coming 2017
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